Brian White | August 19, 2016 | Auto Accidents
Even though Texas requires drivers to carry at least minimum coverage car insurance before getting behind the wheel, hundreds of drivers are on the road without policies. As long as rules of the road are in place, there will always be drivers who break them – either out of negligence or in an attempt to save money. In the end, having no insurance ultimately hurts the uninsured motorist the most.
Drivers never expect to be in an accident with an uninsured motorist, but it does happen. Protect yourself in these situations by knowing what to do.
Prevention is Best: Add Coverage
Currently, about 20% of drivers in Texas don’t have insurance. Ideally, your insurance policy covers you in the event of a crash with an uninsured driver. Adding uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage to your policy ensures someone pays your accident-related expenses from a hit-and-run accident, an accident with someone with not enough coverage, and an accident with an uninsured driver. UM and UIM coverage require a small investment on your end but can save you thousands if you encounter one of Texas’s uninsured 20%.
Uninsured motorist coverage pays your expenses from an accident, including medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and disability for bodily injury. For bodily injury UM/UIM coverage in Texas, there is no deductible. It also covers property damage such as auto repairs, damages to items within your car, and rental car damages. This kind of insurance covers you and any passengers in your car. It also covers your family members and people driving your vehicle with your permission.
Make an Uninsured Motorist Claim
The majority of insurance companies enforce a 30-day limit from after the date of your accident to file an uninsured motorist claim. Make the call as soon as possible after your accident to avoid missing the deadline. As soon as you learn the other driver doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your damages or doesn’t carry insurance at all, file a claim with your insurance company.
Call the phone number listed on your insurance card and tell the representative you wish to file an uninsured motorist claim. Report the details of your accident, including the other driver’s information. Find out how your coverage applies to your situation and follow your company’s directions. If you were seriously injured in the accident, you don’t have UM/UIM insurance, or if you want further recompense against a negligent and uninsured driver, consider filing a personal injury lawsuit.
File a Car Accident Injury Lawsuit
Texas is a “fault” state. You have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent driver regardless of whether or not the driver has insurance. If the driver doesn’t have insurance, was grossly negligent behind the wheel, or caused you significant injury, a lawsuit can be your best option for obtaining compensation.
Your injuries don’t have to be serious to file a lawsuit in Texas, unlike many no-fault states that require your medical bills reach a certain amount before you can file a claim.
A Houston personal injury attorney can help you gather evidence proving the other driver’s fault, such as traffic videos and eyewitness reports. It’s often possible to settle a car accident case without going to court through expert mediation. Filing a claim against an uninsured driver can lead to rewards for your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and temporary or permanent disability.